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Snapshot of global asparagus cultivation

Asparagus production seems to be well balanced and reasonably stable worldwide, with the rising living standards in Asian countries offering plenty of prospects for the long term.

Asparagus is a product grown and consumed all over the world. The main consumer countries are the US, Germany and Spain, with consumption in China now rapidly intensifying. Asparagus production and consumption is least developed on the African continent, where it is grown on a small scale in Morocco and South Africa.

The countries with the largest asparagus acreages are China (approx. 70,000 ha), Peru (approx. 25,000 ha), Germany (approx. 22,000 ha) and Mexico (16,000 ha). Of these four, Mexico’s acreage is the fastest-growing, with production focused on sales to the US.

The US acreage has dwindled by almost 65% over the past twelve years, partly as a result of the NAFTA, which reduced the import rates for Mexican asparagus from 25 to 0%. The burgeoning Mexican production is bad for the trade of Peruvian growers, who likewise rely on exports to the US.

The situation in Europe is reasonably stable; Germany is the absolute number one producer, and just under 80% of the almost exclusively white product is consumed inside Germany. The country with the fastest-growing market is the UK, where exclusively green asparagus is grown on an acreage that has increased around 50% to roughly 2,000 hectares in the past ten years.

British consumption has grown to the same extent, resulting in an occasional need for imports from time to time, even during the harvest season. Asparagus production seems to be well balanced and reasonably stable worldwide, with the rising living standards in Asian countries offering plenty of prospects for the long term.

This article appeared on page 48 of issue 142 (March/April 2016) of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read that edition online here.

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EU gives nod to ‘Brabantse Wal asperges’ asparagus PDO

Dutch ‘Brabantse Wal asperges’ asparagus - famed for having a soft, mild, slightly salty flavour with little or no bitterness - is now covered by a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) of the same name.

Slightly salty and very rarely bitter, the clear white Dutch ‘Brabantse Wal asperges’ asparagus is now covered by a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) of the same name.

Registered by the European Commission on February 17, the PDO covers this asparagus grown over about 40ha in the ‘Brabantse Wal’, located in the southwestern corner of North Brabant, a province in the central south of mainland Netherlands.

The length of the asparagus varies between 20-24 cm and is placed on the market with 3 gradings in class 1 according to its thickness. In order to guarantee quality, freshness and the regional link of the asparagus, once harvested it must be refrigerated at 4°C within four hours.

The application says this asparagus is sold to consumers and the catering trade in different units of weight: unpeeled in plastic sacks or peeled in sealed plastic trays.

“ ‘Brabantse Wal asperges’ have a soft, mild flavour with little or no bitterness. The initial taste varies from salty to slightly sweet in some cases. Their refined aroma, with no dominant notes, allows them to be prepared in many different ways and used as an ingredient in a wide range of dishes. It is this taste that distinguishes ‘Brabantse Wal asperges’ from other asparagus,” it says.

Read the application here: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/door/registeredName.html?denominationId=10051

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Asparagus, strawberry and onion production down this year in the US

The United States asparagus crop will be down 8% on last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Figures released on September 4 also show that strawberry production faces a 4% drop and that of onions 5% compared to that of 2014.

The United States asparagus crop will be down 8% on last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Figures released on September 4 also show that strawberry production faces a 4% drop and that of onions 5% compared to that of 2014.

Asparagus

Production of the 2015 asparagus crop is forecast at 685,000 cwt, down 8% on 2014. Area harvested, at 23,500 acres, is down 1%. Total value of the crop, at US $75.7 million, is up 3% from 2014. Fresh production of 530,000 cwt is down 7% on a year ago.

souce. NASS

Strawberries

Strawberry production in the US is forecast at 31.1 million cwt, up 4% from 2014. Area harvested, at 52,800 acres, is down 2%
from last year. Strawberry yield is forecast at 588 cwt per acre, up 37 cwt from 2014.

“In California, warm weather led to an earlier harvest. While the drought has impacted plant growth, production and quality
were reported to be good,” the NASS report said.

Onions

Production of the 2015 onion crop is forecast at 69.1 million cwt, down 5% from 2014. Onion growers expect to harvest 133,350 acres in 2015, down 4% from last year. Spring onion growers intend to harvest 21,900 acres, down 18% from last season.

Summer, non-storage onion growers expect to harvest 18,800 acres, down 2% from a year ago, while summer storage onion growers plan to harvest 92,650 acres in 2015, down 1% from last season.

The final tally of 2014 storage onion production is 55.7 million cwt, up 10% from 2013. The 2014 storage crop is valued at $566 million, an increase of 2% from 2013, NASS said.

 

 

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The new purple asparagus variety Burgundine being trialled in UK

Sales of a new variety of asparagus that can also be eaten raw is being trialled by Tesco in the UK.

Tesco is trialling sales in in the UK of a new variety of asparagus – Burgundine – that can cooked or eaten raw.

In a press release, the supermarket chain said Burgundine is a purple and green cross and has been grown in Thornham, north Norfolk, specifically as a new salad crop. It could prove popular with office workers looking for a healthy lunchtime snack, it said.

The variety can be eaten raw after being washed because it contains slightly less lignim, the fibre element in asparagus. “The great thing about Burgundine asparagus is its versatility because it can be eaten both raw and also gently steamed or stir fried,” said Tesco produce buyer James Strathdee. “It is an eye-catching variety that is exceptionally sweet, juicy, crunchy and great for eating with dips and in salads.”

The British Asparagus season usually lasts from St George’s Day on April 21 until Midsummer’s Day on June 21, Tesco said. 

It said its finest Burgundine salad asparagus would on sale in 102 Tesco stores at £2 for 100g.

 

Source: Tesco press release

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Morrisons says Britain set for best asparagus crop in a decade

640px-Green_Asparagus_New_York_11_May_2006

Britain could have its best crop of outdoor grown asparagus in nearly ten years, Morrisons vegetable buyers have predicted.

In a press release, the UK retailer said intelligence on growing conditions from its farmers, and a forecast three month heat wave, would mean 2015’s asparagus crop could increase by up to 20%.

“Growing conditions look like they are going to be perfect,” said Morrisons asparagus buyer David Bartle. “The good weather will not only affect the amount of asparagus grown but also the quality of the crop. We could have the most exceptional year since 2007.”

Morrisons asparagus crop will arrive in store on 27 April. Most of the crop will originate from the supermarket’s outdoor growers in the Vale of Evesham and Kent.

The exceptionally warm growing conditions augur well for tender spears with tight heads which will taste sweet and fresh, the company said.

Read more.

Image: “Green Asparagus New York 11 May 2006” by Ryan Freisling. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons